Research Institute in Oncology and Hematology

Dr Yvonne Myal

Breast Cancer

Contact: Dr Yvonne Myal
University of Manitoba Department of Pathology
P228E Pathology Building
770 Bannatyne Ave Winnipeg, Mb R3E 0W3
(204) 787-3874
Email: Dr Yvonne Myal PhD

Breast Cancer

My long term research program is based on identifying breast/breast cancer specific biomarkers and understanding the biological role of these markers in the progression of breast cancer from a localized disease to metastases. Our research efforts over the last few years have been focused on two molecules, claudin 1, and the human prolactin inducible protein/gross cystic disease fluid protein, PIP/GCDFP-15.


PIP/GCDFP-15 is an established biomarker for abnormal breast function. PIP/GCDFP-15 is abundantly found in the fluid of benign cysts of the breast and its gene expression has been detected in more than 90% of breast cancers. Currently, its role in breast cancer as well as in normal breast development is presently not known. Our laboratory generated the first transgenic and knockout mouse models to address the function of this protein. Recent studies from our laboratory show that the role of the PIP/GCDFP-15 protein is multifunctional and may have an immunomodulatory role.

Claudin 1:

We are studying the role of the tight junction protein, claudin 1, in breast cancer progression and metastasis. Tight junction proteins are localized in the membrane of epithelial cells, including mammary epithelial cells, the milk secreting cells of the breast. Most breast cancers develop from this cell type. Tight junction proteins are important for cell-cell interactions, regulating the transport of ions and nutrients between these cells. The breakdown of cell-cell interaction and a loss of tight junction proteins have long been associated with the progression of several cancers. However, such an involvement of claudin 1 in breast cancer has not been delineated. We are focusing on in vitro and in vivo approaches to address this question, as well as examining relationships between claudin 1 expression and tumour aggressiveness and patient survival in human invasive breast cancer cohorts.

Team Members

  • Anne Blanchard (Research Associate)
  • Xiuli Ma (Technician)
  • Arnold Chidalu Edechi (PhD student)
  • Amanda Moodie (Undergraduate Summer Student)
  • Nicole Rogalsky (Undergraduate Summer Student)

Publications since 2010

PubMed Listed Publication
  1. Population-based analysis of breast cancer treatment by intrinsic sub-type in Manitoba, Canada. Hammond E, Shu E, Sawchuk K, Myal Y, Raouf A, Klonisch T, Hombach-Klonisch S, Leygue E, Kung S, Safneck J, Mowat M, Xu W, Murphy L, Pitz M. Cancer Epidemiol. 2016 Oct 19;45:82-90. doi: 10.1016/j.canep.2016.10.006. [Epub ahead of print]
  2. Prolactin-Inducible Protein: From Breast Cancer Biomarker to Immune Modulator-Novel Insights from Knockout Mice. Ihedioha OC, Shiu RP, Uzonna JE, Myal Y. DNA Cell Biol. 2016 Oct;35(10):537-541. *** SELECTED FOR THE COVER***
  3. Identification of Claudin 1 Transcript Variants in Human Invasive Breast Cancer. Blanchard AA, Zelinski T, Xie J, Cooper S, Penner C, Leygue E, Myal Y PLoS One. 2016 Sep 20;11(9):e0163387. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0163387.
  4. Claudin 1 Expression Levels Affect miRNA Dynamics in Human Basal-Like Breast Cancer Cells. Majer A, Blanchard AA, Medina S, Booth SA, Myal Y. DNA Cell Biol. 2016 Jul;35(7):328-39. doi: 10.1089/dna.2015.3188.
  5. Cell-Specific Cre Strains For Genetic Manipulation in Salivary Glands. Maruyama EO, Aure MH, Xie X, Myal Y, Gan L, Ovitt CE. PLoS One. 2016 Jan 11;11(1):e0146711. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0146711. eCollection 2016.
  6. The steroid receptor RNA activator protein (SRAP) controls cancer cell migration/motility. Yan Y, Cooper C, Hamedani MK, Guppy B, Xu W, Tsuyuki D, Zhang C, Nugent Z, Blanchard A, Davie JR, McManus K, Murphy LC, Myal Y, Leygue E. FEBS Lett. 2015 Dec 21;589(24 Pt B):4010-8. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2015.11.007. Epub 2015 Nov 17.
  7. Zhou B, Blanchard A, Wang N, Ma X, Han J, Schroedter I, Leygue E, Myal Y. Claudin 1 Promotes Migration and Increases Sensitivity to Tamoxifen and Anticancer Drugs in Luminal-like Human Breast Cancer Cells MCF7.Cancer Invest. 2015 Aug 17. [Epub ahead of print]
  8. Cheung KG, Cole LK, Xiang B, Chen K, Ma X, Myal Y, Hatch GM, Tong Q, Dolinsky VW.Sirtuin-3 (SIRT3) Protein Attenuates Doxorubicin-induced Oxidative Stress and Improves Mitochondrial Respiration in H9c2 Cardiomyocytes.J Biol Chem. 2015 Apr 24;290(17):10981-93. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M114.607960. Epub 2015 Mar 10.
  9. Li J, Liu D, Mou Z, Ihedioha OC, Blanchard A, Jia P, Myal Y, Uzonna JE. Deficiency of prolactin-inducible protein leads to impaired Th1 immune response and susceptibility to Leishmania major in mice. Eur J Immunol. 2015 Apr;45(4):1082-91. doi: 10.1002/eji.201445078. Epub 2015 Feb 12.
  10. Blanchard AA, Ezzati P, Shamshurin D, Nistor AC, Leygue E, Wilkins JA, Myal Y. Towards further defining the proteome of mouse saliva. Proteome Sci. 2015 Feb 25;13:10. doi: 10.1186/s12953-015-0068-3. eCollection 2015.
  11. Umadat Vivake, Ihedioha Olivia, Shiu Robert, Uzonna Jude,Myal Yvonne. The prolactin-inducible-protein (PIP): A regulatory molecule in adaptive and innate immunity. Open Journal of Immunology. Vol.3, No.4, 210-217. (2013).
  12. Yan Y, Penner CC, Skliris GP, Cooper C, Nugent Z, Blanchard A, Hamedani MK, Wang X, Myal Y, Murphy LC, Leygue E. Steroid receptor RNA activator protein (SRAP) expression as a prognostic factor in ER+ human breast tumors.J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2013 Oct;139(10):1637-47. doi: 10.1007/s00432-013-1485-2. Epub 2013 Aug 2.
  13. Yan Y, Li X, Blanchard A, Bramwell VH, Pritchard KI, Tu D, Shepherd L, Myal Y, Penner C, Watson PH, Leygue E, Murphy LC. Expression of both Estrogen Receptor-beta 1 (ER-1) and its co-regulator Steroid Receptor RNA Activator Protein (SRAP) are predictive for benefit from tamoxifen therapy in patients with Estrogen Receptor-alpha (ER-a)-Negative Early Breast Cancer (EBC). Ann Oncol. 2013 Aug;24(8):1986-93. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdt132. Epub 2013 Apr 11.
  14. Blanchard AA, Ma X, Dueck KJ, Penner C, Cooper SC, Mulhall D, Murphy LC, Leygue E, Myal Y. Claudin 1 expression in basal-like breast cancer is related to patient age. BMC Cancer. 2013 May 30;13:268. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-13-268.
  15. Yan Y, Penner CC, Skliris GP, Cooper C, Nugent Z, Blanchard A, Hamedani MK, Wang X, Myal Y, Murphy LC, Leygue E. Steroid receptor RNA activator protein (SRAP) expression as a prognostic factor in ER+ human breast tumors. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2013 Aug 2. [Epub ahead of print]
  16. Cooper C, Vincett D, Yan Y, Hamedani MK, Myal Y, Leygue E. Steroid receptor RNA activator bi-faceted genetic system: Heads or tails? Biochimie. 2011 Jul 12. [Epub ahead of print]
  17. Myal Y., Leygue E., Blanchard A.A (2010). Claudin 1 in breast tumorigenesis: revelation of a possible novel claudin high subset of breast cancers J.Biomed. Biotechnol. 2010:956897.
  18. Chooniedass-Kothari S, Hamedani MK, Auge C, Wang X, Carascossa S, Yan Y, Cooper C, Vincett D, Myal Y, Jalaguier S, Cavailles V, Leygue E. The steroid receptor RNA activator protein is recruited to promoter regions and acts as a transcriptional repressor. FEBS Lett.3;584:2218-24. Epub 2010 Apr 14.
  19. Chooniedass-Kothari S, Vincett D, Yan Y, Cooper C, Hamedani MK, Myal Y, Leygue E. The protein encoded by the functional steroid receptor RNA activator is a new modular of ER alpha transcriptional activity. FEBS Lett. 2010 Feb 12. [Epub ahead of print]

Research Funding

Since 2011, Dr Myal's research has been supported through operating grants from Natural Sciences and Engineering Council (NSERC), Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation - Prairies NWT (CBCF), Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Manitoba Health Research Council (MHRC), and CancerCare Manitoba Foundation (CCMF).

Awards and Professional Service

2011 YWCA/YMCA Woman of Distinction Award
2008 Merit Award (2006) for Research, Scholarly Activities and Service, University of Manitoba (UM)/University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA)

Professional Appointments

1.Senior Investigator, CancerCare Manitoba, Aug 2010 - present
2.Director of Research , Diagnostic Services of Manitoba, 2008 - present
3.Chair, Operating Grants Steering Committee Diagnostic Services of Manitoba, 2008 - present

Editorial Boards

2011 International Scholarly Research Network (ISRN) Molecular Biology
Annals of Clinical Pathology
International Journal of Forensic Science and Pathology

Grant Review Panel

2013, Chair, Operating Grants Panel, Manitoba Health Research Council
2011 National Science Foundation (ad hoc reviewer)

Scientific Journal Reviewer

Breast Cancer
American Journal of Pathology
Clinical and Experimental Metastasis
Genome Biology
BMC Molecular Biology

RIOH gratefully acknowledges the generous support of

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